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Dealing with debt after surviving cancer

A cancer diagnosis can have you worrying about more than getting well. Recent studies by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research show that one third of all cancer patients who are below retirement age incur debt because of their treatments. You may be among the more that 50 percent of those people facing medical debt of $10,000 or more.

Unfortunately, treatment costs can just keep adding up and leave you with limited financial resources once your cancer is in remission. You may be among those in New York who sold their homes or wiped out their savings to pay for treatment and yet still have a mountain of medical bills to pay.

Itemizing the cost of cancer treatment

The rising cost of cancer treatment is partly to blame for the financial burden. The newest cancer regimens can cost you between $10,000 and $60,000. In addition to the cost of medication, you will probably accrue bills for the following:

  • Radiation or chemotherapy treatments
  • Surgical procedures
  • Hospital stays
  • Travel expenses if your treatment options were not local
  • Testing
  • Doctor consults
  • In-home nursing care

The cost of treatment is not the only thing that put a financial strain on your family. You may have tried to continue working through your treatments, modifying your hours or workload. Time off work may have wiped out your vacation or sick days - if you were lucky enough to have any - or it may have affected your insurance coverage.

You may have watched your loved ones working longer hours or taking on multiple jobs. Your spouse may have taken time off to help you after surgery or treatment. Those lost wages likely had a negative impact on your budget.

A way out from under your debt

Cancer treatments, lasting months or years, may accumulate into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Three percent of those who receive treatment for cancer turn to bankruptcy to relieve the crushing burden of medical debt. While that may seem like a small proportion, considering that doctors diagnose over a million new cases of cancer each year, the actual number is quite high.

Your good health is priceless; nevertheless, you may feel that you continue to pay the price when more bills arrive in the mail. By contacting a compassionate bankruptcy attorney, you can learn about the options available for managing and eliminating your debt.

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